The Coast News Group
Supervisors Greg Cox and Nathan Fletcher released a joint statement Friday announcing they planned to ask the Board to extend its moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses. Courtesy photo

Supervisors to consider eviction ban; COVID cases rise to 7,240

REGION — San Diego County public health officials reported 140 COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths today, raising the county totals to 7,240 cases and 266 deaths.

County health officials recorded 4,624 tests Friday, raising the cumulative total number of tests to 151,910.

The 140 positive tests Friday comprise 3% of the total number, and the 14-day rolling average testing positive is just 3.1%, giving officials like Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, reason to believe the region’s cases have “peaked.”

Of the positive cases, 17.9% or 1,296 have been hospitalized and 378 of those, or 5.2% of all cases have spent some time in intensive care.

Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors Greg Cox and County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher released a joint statement Friday announcing they planned to ask the Board of Supervisors to extend its moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses for another month.

“We are proposing extending San Diego County’s eviction moratorium for residents and small businesses through June 30th,” the supervisors said in the release.

“Our region is slowly recovering from the severe economic damage caused by the pandemic. Although more businesses are reopening, it is going to take time for merchants and their employees who have been out of work to rebuild their bank accounts enough to pay their rent. This will give residential and commercial renters more time to get back on their feet. But we are encouraging renters to pay as much rent as they can and set-up a payment program with their landlords.”

The current moratorium expires May 31 and the extension will apply only to unincorporated areas of the county. The board will vote on the issue during its Tuesday meeting.

The county announced plans to allow passive activities at beaches starting Tuesday, continuing the county’s gradual reopening.

As a result of numbers trending in the right direction, Cox said Thursday the county would allow beaches across the county to open for passive recreation, such as sitting in beach chairs or sunbathing and would allow individual jurisdictions to decide if they wanted to open the beaches for those purposes as well.

A few restrictions remain, however, as the county still has a ban on team sports like football and volleyball. Additionally, beach parking lots and piers remain closed. The reopening of boardwalks is up to each coastal city, and as always, social distancing and facial coverings are the rules when near people who aren’t a member of the household.

Fletcher thanked San Diegans for sacrificing so much already but made a plea to give a little more. He said the San Diego Blood Bank is down to just a two-day supply of blood and is seeking convalescent plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19.

A single dose of the plasma could provide some therapeutic relief to three or four people currently suffering from the illness, Fletcher said.

David Wellis, CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank, said the convalescent plasma has proven so popular as a treatment that even though the blood bank has delivered 377 doses, “We are not meeting the demand.”

Also Thursday, Wooten reminded San Diego County residents that wearing a mask was an effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, as they “disrupted the trajectory” of a cough or sneeze and significantly reduce the spread of respiratory droplets.

Representatives from SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, the U.S.S. Midway Museum and other large tourist attractions had a phone meeting with San Diego County officials on Wednesday to seek permission to reopen by July 1.

The theme parks, which also include the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and the SeaWorld-owned Aquatica water park, are taking steps to open for Stage 3 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-stage plan, and while the meeting with county officials was private, the parks announced they officially asked the state for the right to reopen.

Their plan calls for temperature and wellness checks for employees, masks for everyone entering the parks, reduced capacity inside the parks, plastic shields at food stations, a six-foot separation for entry and ride lines and regularly disinfecting common touchpoints.

All of the theme parks shut down mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.